Beekeeper Beatrice, a bear, and apple-grower Abel, a mouse, are best friends and neighbors.
It seems to be a perfect match. In the spring, Bea’s bees pollinate Abel’s trees, gathering nectar to make their honey. In summer and fall, each animal helps the other with the harvest, and all winter long they eat “crispy toast with apple butter” and sip “warm tea with honey” together. Their symbiosis is threatened when, one spring day, Abel startles a bee and is stung. Bea mistakes Abel’s howls of pain for laughter and joins in; hurt, Abel yells, inadvertently starting an exchange of insults: “Pie Face!” "Fuzz Brain!" In a snit, Abel erects a “no bees allowed” sign. (The bees ignore it.) Bea builds a fence. (The bees ignore it.) Furiously, the former friends pile high a heap of discarded items (including, in Gómez’s colorful, matte illustrations, a tennis racket, a bird cage, and a French horn). “And you know what the bees did.” When the pile of rubbish collapses on Bea, Abel forgets his pique and digs her out, and the friendship is restored. The pleasure in Horowitz’s story comes from its rhythmic, patterned text, which consciously reflects the reciprocal relationship between bees and trees, and its gentle understanding of how a little misunderstanding can blow up into a big rift.
A sweetly humorous story for the friendship shelf. (recipe) (Picture book. 3-6)